North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, center, celebrates with his team after their 89-72 victory over Michigan State in the championship game at the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament, Tuesday, April 7, 2009, in Detroit.
Tarheel - In its early years as a colony, North Carolina settlements became an important source of the naval stores tar, pitch, and turpentine especially for the English navy. At one time, an estimated 100,000 barrels of tar and pitch were shipped annually to England.
Tar and pitch were largely used to paint the bottom of wooden British ships in order to both seal the ship and to prevent shipworm from damaging the hull. North Carolina was nicknamed the "Tar and Turpentine State" because of this industry. Somehow, these terms evolved until the nickname Tar Heel was used to refer to residents of North Carolina and gained prominence during the American Civil War. During this time, the nickname Tar Heel was a pejorative, but starting around 1865, the term began to be used as a source of pride.